Women Faculty Mentoring Program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison

The Women Faculty Mentoring Program was founded in 1989 by Robin Douthitt (former dean of the School of Human Ecology and professor of Consumer Science) when she was an assistant professor. Soon thereafter, it was adopted into the offices of the Provost and Secretary of the Faculty.

The program seeks to support and retain women assistant professors throughout the tenure process. Assistant professors who would like to participate are encouraged to complete a brief questionnaire detailing professional and personal interests. Each assistant professor is matched with a tenured woman who shares similar interests but who is outside her department and, therefore, removed from her promotion and tenure process. This multiple-year match does not obviate the department's responsibility to assign a guidance committee or mentor for each assistant professor; rather, it offers additional information and resources that build upon the work of departmental mentoring relationships. Each year, mentoring pairs are asked to evaluate their relationship and are invited to suggest event topics and to offer advice to the advisory committee and fellow program participants.

The program also offers year-long orientation matches to women appointed with tenure, who are asked to complete a similar questionnaire and who participate in the annual evaluation process.

In addition, the program is home to a number of peer mentoring groups. These informal networks are intended to foster collegiality, promote learning, spark new ideas for research, and help women find their way throughout the university.

Finally, the program sponsors a number of events (details are available on our calendar):

  • Mentoring luncheon (learn about the program, including the roles of the mentor and mentee, receive information about mentoring resources, and share observations and tips about effective mentoring)
  • Annual reception (applaud newly promoted and tenured women, recognize their mentors, and honor the Women Faculty Mentoring Program’s Doris Slesinger Award for Excellence in Mentoring recipient)
  • Conversation series (learn from panelists and peers while engaging in dialogue about topics of special interest to women faculty)

The Women Faculty Mentoring Program is directed by Naomi Chesler (professor of Biomedical Engineering) in consultation with a faculty advisory committee. The program is supported by the Office of the Provost and housed within the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty. Michael Bernard-Donals (Vice Provost for Faculty & Staff) is the Office of the Provost’s liaison to the program. Lindsey Stoddard Cameron (Faculty Services Coordinator) is the Office of the Secretary of the Faculty’s contact and the program coordinator.

If you have other questions about the Women Faculty Mentoring Program, please contact:

Naomi Chesler
Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Director 
2146 Engineering Centers Building
1550 Engineering Drive
email: naomi.chesler@wisc.edu

Lindsey Stoddard Cameron
Faculty Services Coordinator 
132 Bascom Hall
email: lindsey.stoddardcameron@wisc.edu